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Mario Deane beaten, stabbed over use of bed, court told

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, August 14, 2014    

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Mario Deane was allegedly beaten and stabbed by three men in a cell he shared with them at the Barnett Street lock-up over the use of a bunk bed, the court heard yesterday.

One of the accused, Marvin Orr, who was described by his attorney Stacy Young as "schizophrenic" and a substance abuser, was denied bail by Senior Resident Magistrate Carolin Tie when he faced the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court yesterday.

In her bail application, Young said her client was in need of medication and would not be able to access it while in custody, and suggested a private facility where he was once a patient. RM Tie, however, said he could be treated at the psychiatric facilities at the Tower Street Adult Correctional facility in Kingston.

Orr and Adrian Morgan were both charged in connection with Deane's death, but Morgan was not in court yesterday as he was said to have been getting psychiatric treatment, on order of the court, in connection with another case. A third man who the court heard is deaf/mute was being questioned and was expected to be charged as well.

The court was told that the police were alerted to a 'situation' in cell number four where Deane was being held with four others. When the door was opened by the police Deane was found lying on the floor and bleeding from the head. An ambulance was called and five minutes later he was taken to the Cornwall Regional Hospital, the court heard yesterday.

The court also heard that when a police officer cautioned the men in the cell, she was allegedly told that Orr said he owned the bunk beds and when Deane sat on one of them he (Orr) jumped on it and pushed the now deceased man off it, after which a fight started.

An inmate who attempted to separate the three accused men from Deane was unsuccessful, the court was told.

The deaf/mute man is alleged to have punched Deane and one of cellmates allegedly took off Deane's shoes and used it to hit him repeatedly in the face. The beating was said to have gone on for about 30 minutes.

Yesterday, attorney-at-law Roy Fairclough, who told the court he was approached by Morgan's family, described the case as one with "many twists and turns", adding that time will be needed to study the evidence before the court can start its deliberation.

He, however, charged that the Jamaican Government and the police were using the two accused men as "scapegoats", claiming that "the police at Barnett Street had serious questions to answer as to how Deane came to his death. If you lock him up it is your responsibility to ensure he is safe and is no danger to himself or anyone else".

RM Tie, meanwhile, upheld the prosecution's objection to bail being offered to Orr, who, in addition to the murder of Deane, is facing charges of burglary, malicious destruction of property, resisting arrest and possession of ganja.

The accused were booked to return to court on September 18 when the charges against them will be mentioned.

Deane, 31, died on August 6, three days after he was severely beaten while in police custody at the Barnett Street police lock-up. He had been arrested hours before for a ganja cigarette.

The court heard yesterday that Deane's bail process was interrupted twice in less than two hours -- the first time when he was being given bail on his own surety but refused to give the police directions to his home; and again when he allegedly failed to cooperate and was said to be behaving "boisterously". He is alleged to have said he did not like the police when a surety came to bail him and was sent back to the cell and his surety asked to return in the afternoon.

Several people who participated in a massive protest against Deane's death in this city earlier this week were seen in the vicinity of the court yesterday, while his parents and family members were in court to observe the proceedings.

Police officers who were on duty on the day Deane was beaten were interdicted on Tuesday, while the district constables were suspended.

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